John Hartson speaks highly of Sheffield Wednesday and Gary Hooper

Gary Hooper

The former Premier League striker would welcome the Owls back to England's top flight.

John Hartson has told Talksport he is keen to see Sheffield Wednesday promoted this season.

The Owls, who are guaranteed their highest-placed finish since exiting the Premier League in 2000, will seal a play-off place if they avoid defeat to Cardiff City on Saturday.

And 16 years is far too long an absence according to Hartson - a fan of Cardiff's rivals Swansea City - who admitted he used to love going to Hillsborough in his playing days.

"When I was playing in the Premier League for Arsenal, West ham and Wimbledon, I used to love going to Sheffield Wednesday - there’d be 40,000 there," the former Wales international told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show on Friday.

"It’s a seriously big club. Chris Waddle, David Hirst, Carlton Palmer... these guys. It’s just a great club and they have been away for too long."

Hartson, who arguably enjoyed his best spell at Celtic, commented on another former Bhoys goalscorer, currently on the Owls' books - believing he would relish an opportunity to play in England's top flight.

"Gary Hooper is a player that I watched a lot when he was at Celtic. He’s a goalscorer - a fox in the box," the 41-year-old added.

"If he gets a chance he hits the target and he would relish an opportunity in the Premier League, he never really cut it at Norwich but he would say he never really got any opportunities."

Hooper scored 12 goals to fire Norwich to promotion last season, also via the play-offs, and is one shy of equalling that tally having moved to Hillsborough initially on loan last October.

The 28-year-old has faced criticism of late, having failed to score in his last six appearances.

However, the problem is arguably more to do with the supply than Hooper himself, with the £3 million man managing two attempts on goal in that time - fewer than 11 of his teammates, including defensive trio Glenn Loovens, Tom Leeds and Daniel Pudil.

  PositionTeamTotal Scoring AttAppearancesMins Played
Fernando Forestieri FW Sheff Wed 26 7 614
Ross Wallace MF Sheff Wed 15 6 468
Atdhe Nuhiu FW Sheff Wed 12 6 184
Daniel Pudil DF Sheff Wed 8 6 540
Barry Bannan MF Sheff Wed 7 4 360
Tom Lees DF Sheff Wed 7 7 630
Lucas João FW Sheff Wed 7 6 250
Aiden McGeady MF Sheff Wed 4 5 247
Kieran Lee MF Sheff Wed 3 7 630
Glenn Loovens DF Sheff Wed 3 6 476
Álex López MF Sheff Wed 3 7 481
Gary Hooper FW Sheff Wed 2 6 426
Marco Matias FW Sheff Wed 2 4 64
Jack Hunt DF Sheff Wed 1 6 539
Sam Hutchinson DF Sheff Wed 1 1 45
Liam Palmer DF Sheff Wed 1 1 90
Vincent Sasso DF Sheff Wed 1 1 64

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